The stage was set, a long table donning a bright red vinyl cover, the contestants patiently waiting for the start. Fans circled around the table, each supporting their contestant or just watching for the show. As the watermelon eating contest took off, so did the chunky spray of watermelon as participants shoved their faces into the fruit as quickly and ferociously as they could. The eating contest was just one of many opportunities people had to gorge themselves as the food came in many forms: watermelon, ice cream, Mulligan’s fish tacos. But, the fun came in even more forms. There were events running seamlessly throughout the day including the ice cream eating contest, the seed spitting contest, and everyone’s favorite…. the watermelon eating contest. Thanks to the planning of our very own events crew, and a day-of help from many volunteers, there were activities for all to enjoy regardless of their interests. Many kids tried their hands at a plethora of lawn games and toys, some even took the opportunity to turn their own hands to wax with the ever popular “Wax Hands” station. However, the favorite of the day seemed to be the Pirate inflatable that offered not only a large bounce house, but a waterslide to cool off afterwards. “Food and Fun” was the motto of the day, but the 10th Annual Outer Banks Watermelon Festival had a lot more to it than that. The entire festival was run to support the Outer Banks Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Coalition, a group with a positive mission, “To help facilitate the education and awareness of practical bicycle and pedestrian safety to drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and all those who live or visit the Outer Banks of North Carolina in a positive and proactive manner.” Unfortunately, too many people are injured or killed every year on the Outer Banks trying to cross the highways on bicycles or on foot. For Kitty Hawk Kites, this was an issue that everyone could get behind. Following the Watermelon Festival, when all the money was tallied up, there was over $5,000 raised! But, the awareness raised can’t be measured. Getting people to recognize the issue at hand and respect the rules of the road can have a lasting effect on the community. If everyone does their part to pay attention and respect the safety of others, hopefully the issue can be eaten away as if it were just a piece of watermelon.
Written by: Emma Turnbull- 2016 Marketing Intern
It was a beautiful weekend for the 34th Annual Rogallo Kite Festival! Typical with any kite festival, the wind was not completely cooperative (too light on Friday and too strong on Saturday and Sunday), but it was good enough to get the kites up and give everybody an awesome scene to admire atop Jockey’s Ridge.
Rogallo Fest ran on Dunkin’
This was my first kite festival as a Kitty Hawk Kites marketing intern, and I’ll admit I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when the weekend began. I obviously knew we’d be flying some kites, but I didn’t realize just how massive and impressive they’d be. For instance, our octopus, affectionately dubbed Squiggs, is 100 feet long! As you can imagine, trying to launch and take down Squiggs in strong wind was a bit of a challenge. There were even a couple times it took 5 people to wrangle him. Once he got under control though, he was quite a sight to see, with his huge yellow body and his tentacles flapping around in the clear blue sky. A couple other personal favorites of mine were our giant purple eel and the rainbow koi fish, which both slithered around in the air to the point where they looked like they were swimming against the blue sky. It’s amazing how much of a show can be put on by a bit of cloth, so strong line, and a few poles.
Squiggs, the 100ft Octopus- a personal favorite.
Now, I’m by no means an expert yet, but this weekend taught me a lot and gave me a sneak peek into the world of kite flying. There’s a lot that goes into flying such huge kites. You don’t just need the kite and a line; you need the kite, bridle, line set, carabiner, and sand anchor, and a bit of expert know-how. I learned about the safety when flying large kites, how to tie a larks head, and daisy chain just to name a few of my new skills. Basically, there’s a lot more that goes into flying show kites than I could have ever imagined.
Not a bad view
As an event crew member, my weekend consisted of a combination of physical labor, interacting with children, and teaching people about kites. To be fair, I didn’t shoulder a huge portion of the physical labor given my small size and utter lack of muscles, but that’s not to say I didn’t pitch in whenever and however I could. One of the highlights for me was set up Saturday morning, when I was helping John Harris, owner and founder of Kitty Hawk Kites, prepare and launch numerous large kites. It was surreal to be able to learn so much from a man who is such an expert in the field.
In addition to the eye catching show kites, visible from across the sound in Manteo, the Rogallo Kite Festival included free stunt kite lessons, and a Revolution Kite Competition. I spent much of my time tending to the larger kites and unfortunately didn’t get to take a lesson, but I did get to talk to many stunt kite flyers, from visitors trying it out for the first time to experienced flyers who travel the country showing of their skills. Watching the performances from afar, the twirls, spins, dives, and other tricks executed but the Revolutions and other stunt kites were every bit as impressive and transfixing as Squiggs’ tentacles in their own way. I look forward to trying it out for myself at the next festival in July!
Revolution Invitation Winners with Rev Rep, Lolly Hadziki, and John Harris
Between digging holes for anchors, talking to curious vacationers on Jockey’s Ridge, and relaunching kites that the wind took down, the days actually sped by. There’s no denying it was hard work, and being out in the sun for 3 full days certainly took its toll. (I have the awkward suntan/burn lines to prove it). There were moments I just wanted to stop what I was doing, lie down, and fall asleep on the spot. But for every funk, there was also a moment equally as funny or inspiring or beautiful to break me out of it. Like the moment a huge kite would get launched and I would just watch it float upward so peacefully into the bright blue sky. Or seeing a kid’s face light up as they watched the koi fish “swimming” through the air. Or honestly just taking a step back and taking in the whole panorama: a beautiful sunny day on the sand dunes with a bunch of colorful kites floating overhead and the ocean in the distance. I now understand peoples’ fascination with kites a whole lot better.
If you missed the Rogallo Festival, don’t fret… The Wright Kite Festival hosted at The Wright Brothers’ National Memorial July 16-17 will feature many of the same show kites (possibly even a few more), free stunt kite lessons, and kite making workshops for the kids. You may also check out this awesome Rogallo Festival recap video below:
The largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in North Carolina takes place right here on the Outer Banks. Some 1,500 people participate in the parade, and an average of 8,000 people line the sides of NC 12 along the “greenest mile” in the Tar Heel state.
This year marks the 27th anniversary of the Kelly’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which will take place on Sunday, March 13, 2016 starting at 1:00 PM.
The Outer Banks is famous for its beaches, surfing, swimming, paddle boarding, boating, and fishing; it’s also the ideal place to run a marathon, fly a kite or go hang-gliding. This year’s celebration will highlight the many ways people recreate on the Outer Banks, it’s also about the “wearing of the green” in celebration of Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland.
Parade starts at 1:00 PM at milepost 11.5, at the intersection of Bladen Street and Virginia Dare Trail, and continues north to Driftwood Street.
Following the parade, there will be a celebration at Kelly’s Restaurant and Tavern in Nags Head featuring live music, awards and honors and free hot dogs while supplies last! There will of course be plenty of Guinness and other Irish beer to quench your thirst.
Since this year’s theme is Outer Banks recreation, Kitty Hawk Kites along with Outer Banks Sporting Events and Dare County Parks & Recreation will be serving as the grand marshals of this year’s parade. Be sure to look for us on the parade route!
2015 was an amazing year on the Outer Banks and for Kitty Hawk Kites. We can’t thank all the wonderful customers who stopped by our stores and made it one of the best years we’ve ever had.
We’ve been adding new experiences—one of our favorites is the replica of the Wright Brothers 1902 glider that is available for flight. Pilots—check this one out. A living history adventure, we’re proud to offer this truly unique flight opportunity.
More new things we started dong this past year—Kitty Hawk Kites sponsored our first ever BrewTag, proving conclusively that beer kegs can fly . . . albeit not well. We are reserving judgment on how well beer can fly, though. After looking over the technical backgrounds of the entrants in the initial competition, there may be room for improvement over the current world BrewTag flight distance of 20’9”.
With Easter coming so early this year—March 27—our first big event is even earlier than usual. Our “Fly into Spring & Easter Eggstravaganza” is that weekend so be sure to check out all the fun.
We’re still finalizing some of the details on our event calendar, but here’s a good start on some of the amazing things we have scheduled for 2016.
Fly into Spring & Easter Eggstravaganza
Mar 25, 2016 – Mar 26, 2016
Kitty Hawk Kites will be starting off the 2014 season with the annual “Fly into Spring & Easter Eggstravaganza!” Come join the Kitty Hawk Kites crew at Jockey’s Ridge Crossing to celebrate the start of a new season on the Outer Banks.
44th Annual Hang Gliding Spectacular
May 13, 2016 – May 16, 2016
Kitty Hawk Kites is proud to announce the 2016 Hang Gliding Spectacular and Air Show! Join professional hang gliders, fans, and families at Jockey’s Ridge State Park for this Outer Banks tradition. This event is the longest running hang gliding competition in the world!
Rogallo Kite Festival
Jun 10, 2016 – Jun 12, 2016
Francis Rogallo was a NASA scientists and inventor of the flexible wing. His inventions started the sport of hang gliding and his designs have carried over into the stunt kites, power kites, and hang gliders that are flown today. We invite you to join us and raise a kite at the 33rd Annual Rogallo Kite Festival!
Outer Banks Pirate Festival
Aug 10, 2016 – Aug 11, 2016
Get ready for a swashbucklin’ good time as Kitty Hawk Kites hosts the Outer Banks Pirate Festival. Pirates of the Outer Banks and their friends will be camped out at Jockey’s Ridge Crossing. Learn the vast history of pirates on the OBX, and participate in Scalawag school for the little ones to see if they have what it take to be a part of Blackbeards’ Crew!
Kegs will fly and everyone will have a great time. Enter your team early for the best chance to win. Or just spend the day hanging out and sampling some of the finest beer around and listening to great music.
Hangin’ With Santa/Kites With Lights
November 25, 26
Look for Santa to stop by on Friday and Saturday with Kites with Lights filling the evening sky over Jockey’s Ridge State Park after sunset on Saturday. This is one of our oldest events and we really look forward to it every year.
A couple more events that we’re still putting the final touches on. We’ll keep you posted.
The Wright Kite Festival-Held every year at the Wright Brothers Memorial in July
Outer Banks Watermelon Festival-Games, music, food, and LOTS of watermelon. Tons of watermelon competitions including seed spitting. An August Event.
31st Annual Outer Banks Stunt Kite Competition-A regional kite flying competition, organized by the Eastern League Sport Kite Association, features some of the top competitive kite fliers in the nation, as well as a massive display of show kites, stunt and power kite demonstrations and lessons, kite making activities for the kids. Usually in September
When Orville Wright took his place at the controls of the aircraft he and his brother, Wilbur, had built on a cold, windy December day, he was confident that flight was possible. Launching into a 20-25 mph wind, the Wright Flyer lifted into the air and in 12 seconds the history of the world changed.
Later in the day, Wilbur demonstrated that the flight was not fluke, flying the aircraft 852’ in 59 seconds.
December 17, 1903 is one of the most important days in modern history, and at the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kill Devil Hills the achievement is celebrated annually.
This year the ceremony begins at 9:00 a.m. with local groups and high schools participating—the First Flight High School Advanced Chorus will perform the National Anthem (they are very good) and a Kitty Hawk Boy Scout Troop will lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
The highlight of the ceremony always occurs at 10:35 a.m. with a military flyover, the exact time of Orville’s first flight.
The original Wright Flyer is in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. and an exact replica is housed in the rotunda of the Wright Brothers Monument. No one is taking them out for a flight, but for the adventurous who may wish to experience flight the way the Wright brothers did, Kitty Hawk Kites has one of the few replicas of their 1902 glider that was so important in learning how to fly.
It does take a stiffer breeze to fly it than our hang gliders (15-25mph), but for anyone looking for a truly unique flight experience, this is as different as it gets. Safe, the aircraft is tethered, flying this living piece of history is an event that will create a lifelong memory.